The Bureau was established under the provisions of RSA 21-P:13 and falls under the authority of the Commissioner of the Department of Safety. It is purposely not attached to any of the divisions, bureaus, or other sections to avoid even the appearance of prejudice or impropriety.
About the Bureau
The Department of Safety, Bureau of Hearings, is responsible for conducting administrative Hearings under the authority of John J. Barthelmes, Commissioner of Safety and Under Title XXI, as applicable, Richard C. Bailey, Jr., Director of Motor Vehicles.
Hearings are administrative in nature, designed to be informal, albeit all testimony is taken under oath, verbally recorded, and the results are subject to appeal. Hearsay is allowed. You appear before a hearings examiner, not a judge, and have the right to be represented by an attorney of your choice at your expense. Legal representation is not required. This choice is yours and yours alone to make. No one here can make that decision for you, and we cannot provide you with legal advice.
The hearings examiner will control the hearing and has the authority to ask questions of individuals present to ensure he or she has the information needed to make a rational, fair, and informed decision.The Department of Safety, Bureau of Hearings (The Bureau), is responsible for administrative hearings conducted by the Department of Safety.
Hearings are primarily conducted under the general authority of the promulgated administrative rules (Saf-C 200). Hearings are also administrated through the specific rules and statutes that are applicable to the subject matter and scope of review listed.
Unlike a courtroom, the hearings are held in an office and are decided on a preponderance of evidence standard. This is the lowest standard of proof. If the hearings examiner feels he or she has enough information/evidence to show that it is likely that something happened, then preponderance is satisfied.
Hearings are scheduled pursuant to requirements established by law and are done at the sole discretion of the Bureau, although, an attempt is made to hold hearings in the area where, as applicable, the arrest occurred.
The Bureau of Hearings' staff consists of the Administrator, Chief Hearings Examiner, thirteen hearings examiners, and nine support personnel. A Litigation Post, who represents the agency in superior court appeals, and a legal secretary, rounds out the staff.
The quasi-judicial hearings include all driver license reviews; for example, Habitual Offender review or certification; Demerit Points System; Transporting Alcohol by a Minor; Children in Need of Supervision (CHINS); Administrative License Suspension (involving persons having either taken a chemical test after an arrest or refusing to complete the test), Uninsured Accident Involvement; and Fatal and Serious Injury Crashes. Other hearings include topics such as: Fireworks Licensing; Security Guard Licensing; Car Dealership; Inspection Station; and the Titling of Vehicles. Additional samplings of topics covered include Common Carrier Authorization, Abandoned Vehicles, and Dynamite Permits. More recently, the Bureau of Hearings has conducted public hearings involving watercraft in relationship to governing use on certain waterways, Vehicle Emissions, and the New Hampshire Motor Vehicle Industry Board.